Do you ever ask yourself “what if?” This post is about reasons why asking “what if?” can be helpful. How asking the what-if scenarios can help with anxiety.
While I seem to constantly run “what if?” scenarios through my head, I also know people that admit they never think of the “what ifs?”. So do I do this because of my anxiety? Is this weird or normal? I do not know the answers to those questions. But let’s look at some of the ways that asking “what if?” can be helpful, especially to my anxious brain!
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Why Ask “What If?”
Why should we ever ask ourselves “what if?”? There can be thousands of reasons to ask yourself this question, depending on the situation.
Consider work related situations, or financial situations then you should obviously think of two scenarios. The one where you take the deal and the one where you do not take the deal. Then consider the “what ifs” of each scenario.
If you never think in this manner or consider the “what ifs” in these situations, you would end up making haphazard or spur of the moment decisions. You need “what if” scenarios to be able to think through the possibilities.
Asking “What If” Can Help With Anxiety
Asking “what if?” or using the “what if” scenarios can help ease anxiety, if you use them in positive ways.
Anxiety can cause excessive worry, nervousness, fear, and apprehension.1 Whenever you feel yourself getting anxious, nervous, or afraid, it is usually over something caused by negative thoughts and/or feelings.
Next time this happens, try thinking in a “what if” scenario. Instead of fearing whatever negative thing is on your mind, stop and think to yourself in this manner; “But what if ______ happened instead?” Replace the blank with an opposite, positive event instead of the negative one you are anxious about.
Give yourself a positive option. Offer your anxious brain hope and allow yourself to think of positive ways the situation can happen just as easily as the negative.
Anxiety lies to us and makes us worry or fear life. We must weed out those lies and negative thoughts. “What if” scenarios are just one way to help focus on more positive thoughts.
Reasons Why Asking “What If” Is Helpful
There are several ways that asking “what if” can be helpful in life, and not just with anxiety.
Asking ourselves this question can help us to consider different options in different situations.
Let’s look at different ways that this can become helpful to us in our daily lives.
Asking “What If” Can Increase Creativity
When artists, musicians, or writers are creating something new they can use the “what if” scenarios to increase their creativity. This way of thinking provides other possibilities, wordings, scenes and descriptions to their work.
By asking yourself “what if” this? instead of that? while creating something, it broadens your options and perspective of the idea and/or situation.
Once, when Stephen King was asked “where do you get your ideas?” he answered on his website with the following quote:2
“What all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question “What if?” “What if” is always the key question.”Stephen King
Psychology Today did a full article that you can read here. It is titled Ask What If To Boost Your Creativity.
Asking “What If” Reveals Power of Choice
Asking yourself “what if” can help to reveal your power of choice in any given situation.
Power of choice is very helpful. It reminds you that you have more than one obvious option. This is helpful because it gives you power and hope.
No one likes to feel helpless or out of control in any situation. Taking back control by realizing that you have options is very reassuring and helpful.
Especially when and if the situation is causing you stress and anxiety, the power of choice can ease those feelings.
Asking “What If” to Overcome Fear
Fear itself is a powerful thing! Fear is an essential emotion that can serve us well, but if we experience it in excess the fear can become anxiety.
The times when fear is essential is when it causes the fight or flight reactions. Sometimes it is as simple as facing the fear or avoiding it.
However, there are times that we need to just calm the fear or anxiety to cope with the situation. Perhaps the fear is only a perception or not anything to actually be afraid of.
This is when asking yourself “what if” can help overcome the fear by providing other options and possibilities.
Asking “what if” can help you to reason out the situation!
Asking “What If” to Move Forward
Do you feel stuck in a rut? Do you always procrastinate? Perhaps you feel as if you’re life will never change or improve.
Try asking yourself “what if” I try doing things differently? “What if” I stop putting things off until next week? “What if” I focus on that one thing I always wanted to do?
Looking at options, thinking of different ways to do things, changing habits and exploring all your possibilities can help you to move forward and change your life.
Asking yourself “What if” I survive or live through this? (whatever this is at the moment) could help you to not give up on yourself or your life.
What if scenarios can change your entire perspective! Try it and see how differently you look at a situation!
Do you ask yourself “what if”? How do you use the “what if” scenario in your daily life? Does it help you?
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!
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Until next time,